Memorial Acre unveiled in Soweto

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pretoria – The Gauteng Provincial Government has on Monday officially unveiled the June 16th Memorial Acre in Soweto.

The R48 million Memorial Acre, which houses the June 16 Memorial and Youth Institute, is situated opposite the Morris Isaacson High School in White City, Jabavu in Soweto.

The institute is expected to become a centre of memory and a resource for young people to contribute to community development through various youth developmental programmes that will be run from the institute, according to the Gauteng Provincial Government.

The institute will partner with universities to develop an accessible June 16th historical reference centre, offer support programmes to out-of-school youth and help them acquire skills and employment through leadership training and mentoring.

South Africans are today, on Youth Day, marking the 38th anniversary since the 1976 Soweto Uprising where the country’s youth demonstrated against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction and the injustices of apartheid.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the main event in Galeshewe in the Northern Cape.

The two-storey building has a unique design in the shape of an AK 47 rifle, which was a symbol of the struggle. Next to the memorial, a statue of Tsietsi Mashinini, one of the student leaders of the Soweto Uprisings, has been erected.

The entrance to the institute has a section of glazed steel bearing the words: Struggle, Liberty, Freedom, June 16, Memorial Acre, Youth and Rise.

The site is enclosed by a memorial wall which depicts the history of the area and the events of June 16, 1976. It forms a walkway for learners en route to the Morris Isaacson High School.

All artwork on the grounds of the institute have been procured from community artists and a total of 192 previously disadvantage beneficiaries received work and training during the course of the project. 

“Today marks a giant step in commemorating our liberation, it evokes nostalgia and is also a powerful indicator of the strides we have made together as a people, government and country,” said MEC for Infrastructure Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza at the opening of the institute.

Mayathula-Khoza was born and raised in Soweto and, at the age of 14, she participated in the 1976 youth uprisings and marched in protest against Bantu education.

Also present at the unveiling was MEC for Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Molebatsi Bopape. – SAnews.gov.za

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